In Santa Barbara, kids in summer camps are learning about skin cancer and ways to help prevent it. They are wearing hats, using sunscreen, and seeking shade while having fun on the beach and during other outdoor recreational activities. The Cancer Center’s RAYS Program is helping to make this possible. Today, we know that unprotected exposure to the sun’s rays can increase the risk of skin cancer. Sunburns occurring before the age of 20 are of particular concern. Unlike a tan that fades away, the harmful effects of sun damage are cumulative. Children receive the majority of their lifetime sun exposure by age 18.
Sun Safety Tips:
- Seek the shade, especially between 10 am and 4 pm. Sun safety doesn’t condemn you to life indoors. If you love the beach, go early or late in the day, when the sun’s rays are less intense.
- Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Re-apply sunscreen approximately every two hours or after swimming or sweating heavily according to the directions on the bottle.
- Cover up. Wear attractive sun-protective clothing and a wide brimmed hat, and carry a beach umbrella. Don’t forget sunglasses to protect your eyes.
You are your children’s role model. Be sure to let them see you protecting yourself from the sun. If you have great skin, so will they.